Famous mentalists

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Mathias435 » 09/28/11 10:39 AM

Who would you consider to be the most famous and best mentalist ?

- Mathias
I write on a site about how to be a mentalist.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/28/11 11:15 AM

the one who predicted 'a magic cafe question will be posted over on genii 09/28/11'

the answer is "red backed bikes", or Nostradamus, depending.
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Postby aireM » 09/28/11 09:56 PM

I would say most famous and best are two different things ;)

who do you guys like?
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Postby Guih Rock » 09/30/11 09:13 PM

most famous? maybe Derren Brown, or Patrick Jane :p
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/25/11 10:09 AM

Derren Brown seems to be the most popular at the moment, while Patrick Jane appears most often on TV with Shawn Spencer running a close second.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 10/26/11 12:15 AM

Gotta go with Patrick Jane. But I hear he uses stooges.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 10/26/11 06:00 AM

Never heard of Patrick or Shawn.

In the UK, Derren Brown is a household name and his theatre shows sell out months in advance. Interestingly, his theatre shows are constructed as pieces of theatre, not a series of mentalism routines.

Surely in the US, the most famous is Kreskin?

As an aside, I have two different shows running as part of The Manchester Comedy Festival, an 8.30 mentalism show and an 11pm BIZARRE show.

This morning I received an email from a friend who came last night to both shows:

"Thanks for last night, I really enjoyed both shows and so did my friends. My favourite routine was the 2 handkerchiefs - completely dumbfounded! Also, as an aside, my 2 friends who stayed for the Bizarre show (Jenny and Liam) 'got it together' afterwards, something that has been on the cards for ages but finally happened! They will owe their marriage and future children to you... ;-)"

I feel a bit like David Devant who got a letter from an audience member who siad he met his future wife at one of Devant's shows.

As a further aside, last week, while performing the two handkerchief routine mentioned above, three women stood up and left, accusing me of devil worship.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/26/11 07:42 AM

Wow. Bizarre magic finally got someone laid...

(Apologies for lack of taste)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/26/11 09:08 AM

Image wait till word gets around about putting a condom under a glorpy.
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Postby SteveP » 10/26/11 01:19 PM

Q. Reynolds wrote:Surely in the US, the most famous is Kreskin?



I guess that would depend on who you ask. Kreskin isn't as famous in the US as Derren is in the UK. He was 40 years ago, but not any longer. The Patrick Jane character from The Mentalist TV show is probably the best known name associated with the term Mentalist, even though he doesn't do mentalism.

However, if you ask someone in the senior population - 70+ in age, many still remember Dunninger.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/26/11 01:50 PM

There is no "famous" mentalist in the US at this point in time. There are barely any famous magicians.
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Postby Diego » 10/26/11 07:48 PM

Although Kreskin isn't seen as much as he was in the 1960's/70's/80's...and in his "Buck Howard" time,
Kreskin is STILL the best known name in the USA.(Deal with it.)

The come back, "Who do you think I am, Kreskin?!", still gets a laugh.
How many mentalists are parodied as he has been, the best indication of someone's public persona?

Kreskin still appears on national TV shows, (although not as relentlessly as he did in his Carson/Douglas/Shore/Griffin days.)
still makes the news with his yearly predictions, and is OUT there, while others just complain.

Yes, Dunninger was well known before and some of the 70+ set might remember him, but reality is that his radio and TV shows only lasted a season each with each network....Kreskin's air time, is many times what Dunninger ever had.

Although he doesn't use the title, David Blaine could easily have the title, as many of his feats are demonstrations of mentalism/mindreading. Very appropriate that the MASTER, Uri Geller,(another candidate) provided the introduction for Blaine's first TV show.
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Postby Simone M » 10/27/11 07:08 PM

I'd say Derren Brown, although the general opinion is that he's a man of science rather than a conjurer.
Much to my surprise, I've met countless people over 40 who still talk about Geller and still remember his TV appearances -- everyone has some funny anecdote about them trying to bend spoons or keys after watching Geller on TV, so I guess he should be considered the one who made the biggest impact on the general audience.
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Postby SteveP » 10/28/11 09:47 AM

Diego wrote:Kreskin is STILL the best known name in the USA.(Deal with it.)


Diego,

You don't have to be rude about it.

In my post above I stated that Kreskin isn't as well known in the US as Derren is in the UK and that's a fact. Derren is selling out live shows months in advance and Kreskin can no longer fill a theater. While he may be making TV appearances (Jimmy Fallon, Mike Huckabee), he doesn't do prime time TV and hasn't had his own show in decades. Derren has been on prime time tv with his own shows for over a decade now.

Saying that the 70+ set "might" remember Dunninger is twisting around what I know to be true. I used to perform for a lot of senior organizations doing mentalism shows and most of the folks in every audience did remember Dunninger because I would ask during my show. It doesn't matter how long he was on the air with each network, he was on the air on both radio and TV for several years. Kreskin's show only aired for 4 years. He hasn't had a TV show in 36 years. Also don't forget, if it wasn't for Dunninger, Kreskin wouldn't have an act.

In the UK I'm guessing that 9 out of 10 people know who Derren Brown is and he would be considered an "A List" celebrity. Doubtful you're going to find that many people in the States who know who Kreskin is.

I agree with what Richard posted - there are no famous mentalists in the US. Most people here don't even know what a mentalist is aside from the CBS show. When I perform at company events I typically have a retractable banner that has my name, photo and "Mentalist". People will come up to me before the show and ask "what's a mentalist?"

So I guess I do have to agree with you that Kreskin is the best known mentalist in the USA, but it's such an obscure reference that his so-called fame is very limited.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/28/11 09:57 AM

Steve Pellegrino wrote:
In my post above I stated that Kreskin isn't as well known in the US as Derren is in the UK and that's a fact.


Citation needed.

Sounds like something you've just made up to me.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/28/11 11:16 AM

He doesn't need a citation. Derren has TV specials, TV series, a touring show, books, DVDs, and so on, all happening NOW.

Kreskin had a single series 20 or 30 years ago, and was on late night TV once in a while. He plays no-name locations and colleges these days.

The comparison doesn't even make sense.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/28/11 11:51 AM

It was just the 'fact' part I objected to really, however...

Derren is popular amongst the Channel4 demographic for sure. But I would be surprised if *more* of the 61 million people in the UK knew who Brown was than the 300 million in the US knew Kreskin. When Kreskin was famous, there wasn't much on the TV so he was *really* famous. *Everyone* knew who he was. Today, although it seems Brown is very popular, I am not sure he had the impact on the public en masse that Kreskin enjoyed.

But, OK, whatever. :)
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Postby mrgoat » 10/28/11 11:54 AM

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Postby Ted M » 10/28/11 12:26 PM

Uri Geller stomps Kreskin on Google Trends, but Derren still tops both:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=uri+geller%2C+kreskin%2C+derren+brown&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all
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Postby SteveP » 10/28/11 12:35 PM

Kreskin's tv show ran from 72 - 75.

Check out Google Trends for "mentalist"

http://www.google.com/trends?q=mentalist&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

The US isn't even in the top 10. I don't know if that's a measurable way of seeing the lack of interest in mentalism or maybe that people aren't aware of it.

In the past several years there hasn't been a mentalist who has broken through on TV in the US as Derren has in the UK. Gerry McCambridge had one special on NBC, Keith Barry had a number of TV shows and there was the contest show Phenomenon. But no one remembers those two guys and Phenomenon didn't do well in the ratings.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/28/11 12:58 PM

Steve Pellegrino wrote:
Check out Google Trends for "mentalist"

http://www.google.com/trends?q=mentalist&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

The US isn't even in the top 10. I don't know if that's a measurable way of seeing the lack of interest in mentalism or maybe that people aren't aware of it.


Maybe no one but magicians and Alan Partridge fans use the word?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/28/11 03:37 PM

I can't believe I'm using my break from analyzing data to analyze data...

I'd like to see what Kreskin's numbers were in the 1970s to compare them to Brown's numbers today.

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Postby Diego » 10/31/11 12:41 AM

Steve,
Not trying to be rude, just being stressing a reality most magicians don't acknowledge.

Dunninger's shows did not run for years, but mostly with different networks for about one season each and gone. No one can deny, but only celebrate the promotion Dunninger did attract regardless in broadcasting and print media though.

Dunninger used to challenge/boast that no one was/could do his act, which Robert Nelson noted, was because few had the guts/gall to put it over...Kreskin did.
Kreskin's series ran for 4/5+ continuous years in national syndication. I think you know in the syndie world, that is very good...most shows are long gone before the 2nd season.
Kreskin is happy to note he was on Carson 88 times, Griffin 98, Douglas 118, and many times on Dinah Shore, Letterman and Stern as well. NO ONE has those numbers.
(Richard-This is hardly, "appearing on late-night TV once in a while.")

As the wonderful movie, "The Great Buck Howard", shows though, with these impressive numbers from the past, he might as well say he headlined The Gus Sun Circuit, and receive the same blank stares from many today.

But he still is a familiar face/name to many, and still is the best known name associated with the term mentalist in the U.S./Canada.

(IF you haven't seen "Buck Howard" you should, a fun movie about fame achieved and faded, real and perceived.)
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Postby SteveP » 10/31/11 04:24 PM

Diego,

Getting back to the original question of this thread, "Who would you consider to be the most famous and best mentalist?" I think the answer would be Derren Brown. I doubt there are as many people who know who Kreskin is. If there were he would be selling out shows and still making major TV appearances.

While Derren is unknown in the US, I agree that Kreskin is the best known mentalist in the US, but it's a shallow title considering most people have no idea what a mentalist is or who Kreskin is. It's like saying that Ian Finkel is the most famous xylophone player. He is, but unless you're in that world, it loses something.
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Postby Ted M » 10/31/11 04:53 PM

Maybe the question should specify what point in time is being considered.

Most famous and best mentalist...

Today?
At some other fixed point in the past?
At the height of each mentalist's own fame?
Etc
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Postby Diego » 10/31/11 05:41 PM

Famous in the U.K., yes. Maurice Fogel was very well known in the UK, but not in the U.S.(One of the best shows and lessons in audience/volunteer control I saw by Fogel.)
Yes,fame can be designated by country, era, and genre.

Maybe in the U.K., "Who do you think I am, Derren Brown?!", would receive an appreciative response.
Kreskin's lingering name brand is still better known in the U.S.

A friend who works for A.C. Nielson, said there is a younger demographic, who certainly know who David Blaine is, but don't know David Copperfield.

I once asked asked a group between 20-30,
"Who is Roy Rogers?"
NO ONE KNEW

I then asked them, "Who is Gene Autry?"
Again, NOTHING...One person said, "I think she is a ballroom dancer."(!)
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